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About Dan:

Dan has worked with horses for his whole life and spent nine years as Assistant Trainer to Champion National Hunt Trainer Paul Nicholls. With that invaluable experience under his belt, he has embarked on his own training career and now has almost 200 winners under his belt, including Willow’s Saviour’s memorable victory in the 2013 Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot. Dan will be providing a unique insight into his horses and their chances exclusively for Coral.

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Stabletalk: “She’s got the sun on her back, and she looks fantastic. I think she’ll go close”

Top trainer Dan Skelton previews all of his weekend runners and looks back at his stable’s Cheltenham performance

Cheltenham was tough. It was frustrating not to come away with a winner but you can’t be too hard on yourself because it’s Cheltenham and it’s ultra-competitive. At the end of the day we all want to win but this year we didn’t and it’s hard. We’ve all built these glorious four days into the meeting that everyone gets judged upon. As it happened if you are an English trainer you only had nine opportunities to win a Cheltenham race as the Irish won the other nineteen. So how can you judge your entire season on whether you’ve won one of nine races at Cheltenham or not? It’s a very hard barometer to judge yourself against but we all still do. We had some winners last week everywhere but Cheltenham and that’s just the way things went. We are now pursuing the century of winners hotly.

SATURDAY

2.15 Bangor – Some Invitation

Some Invitation won on debut, and next time out at Hereford the ground was tacky, they went quite quick early and he was in against Finian’s Oscar, so there were a few things that went against him on the day. Here he gets the chance to race again in a small field. He’s a horse we like, he’s going to be a chaser and I think he’ll go close, but I’m not saying he’s going to win.

2.50 Bangor – Atlantic Storm

This race has cut up a bit and I think two miles is very much the minimum for Atlantic Storm. He’s a chaser really; he’ll have a couple of runs now and then we’ll put him away before going chasing next season. We want to give him a bit more education, but he’s not without a chance in this.

4.35 Bangor – Sam Red

In his latest blog, Dan Skelton focuses on his weekend runners rather than Kempton's future.

Dan has a busy weekend of runners

Sam Red ran a funny race when I fancied him at Southwell. They never went quick enough and then it turned into a sprint and he found himself in the wrong place; it was just one of those days when nothing went to plan. He’ll run a lot better in this race..

5.15 Bangor – Seelateralligator

If the ground dries back to Good to Soft it should be okay for her. She’s in very good form. It’s her last chance to run in a bumper. She’s quite experienced and she’s not without a chance.

4.05 Stratford – Rene’s Girl

I’ve just been holding on to Rene’s Girl. It’s spring time, she’s got the sun on her back, and she looks fantastic. The race has cut up, she only has to travel five minutes up the road to have a go at it. I think she’ll go close.

SUNDAY    

2.15 Wincanton – Azzuri

Azzuri

Azzuri aims for a second consecutive win for Dan

Azzuri made hard work of it last time but I have a funny feeling that he’s still got a bit up his sleeve. He’s got one of Paul Nicholls’ to beat but hopefully he can go in again.

4.45 Wincanton – One For Billy

One For Billy has also got one of Paul’s to beat. He’s run nicely in two bumpers and I was particularly happy with his last run. He jumps very well at home. You have to give respect to the horse with experience in the race, Winningtry, but ours is a good horse and he will run nicely.

4.00 Hereford – Shelford

It was good to see Shelford win last week. He’s a lairy old git, and he kept plenty up his sleeve the other day not winning until late on at prohibitive odds. There are three in the race with a chance: him, Chef d’Oeuvre and Sir Ivan and it’s hard to split the three to be honest. If we don’t win, it doesn’t mean he won’t then win next time and he’ll get more experience from this race. He’s a hard tough campaigner and running is fine for him, so we’ll just let him get on with it. it.

Dan